Monday, February 27, 2017

(Mis)Reading Rumi

So Rumi has been culturally appropriated?

Good points in this article ("The Erasure of Islam from Rumi's Poetry", but the author (or her editor) needs to learn the difference between "prescription" and "proscription". Also, I don't know how much influence Rumi and Hafez have had historically on Muslims outside of the Persian-literate populations in Iran, Central Asia, Asia Minor, and South Asia. Have Arabs and Indonesians traditionally read Rumi?

I have been a fan of Coleman Barks' devotion to Rumi but not so much of his translations. In addition to the issue raised by this article, I find them shallower than the original. Modernizing should not mean lobotomizing. And Rumi needs less "modernization" than any classical Persian poet; much of what he said is truly universal and timeless.

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